turtle

noun (1), often attributive
tur·​tle | \ ˈtər-tᵊl How to pronounce turtle (audio) \
plural turtles also turtle

Definition of turtle

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: any of an order (Testudines synonym Chelonia) of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine reptiles that have a toothless horny beak and a shell of bony dermal plates usually covered with horny shields enclosing the trunk and into which the head, limbs, and tail usually may be withdrawn

turtle

noun (2)

Definition of turtle (Entry 2 of 3)

turtle

noun (3)

Definition of turtle (Entry 3 of 3)

archaic

First Known Use of turtle

Noun (1)

1612, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1952, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for turtle

Noun (1)

modification of French tortue, from Late Latin (bestia) tartarucha, feminine of tartaruchus of Tartarus, from Greek tartarouchos, from Tartaros Tartarus; from Mithraic and early Christian association of the turtle with infernal forces

Noun (3)

Middle English turtil, turtle, going back to Old English turtle, turtla borrowed (with dissimilation, as also in Middle Dutch tortel "turtledove," Old High German turtul, turtila) from Latin turtur, of onomatopoeic origin

Learn More About turtle

Time Traveler for turtle

Time Traveler

The first known use of turtle was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near turtle

Tursiops

turtle

turtleback

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Cite this Entry

“Turtle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turtle. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for turtle

turtle

noun
tur·​tle | \ ˈtər-tᵊl How to pronounce turtle (audio) \

Kids Definition of turtle

: a reptile that lives on land, in water, or both and has a toothless horny beak and a shell of bony plates which covers the body and into which the head, legs, and tail can usually be drawn

turtle

noun, often attributive
tur·​tle | \ ˈtərt-ᵊl How to pronounce turtle (audio) \
plural turtles also turtle

Medical Definition of turtle

: any of an order (Testudines) of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine reptiles that have a toothless horny beak and a shell of bony dermal plates usually covered with horny shields enclosing the trunk and into which the head, limbs, and tail usually may be withdrawn

called also chelonian

More from Merriam-Webster on turtle

Nglish: Translation of turtle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of turtle for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about turtle

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